BRICS foreign ministers call for WTO reform

Stress need to restore the normal functioning of all WTO’s functions as highlighted in the Joint Statement by BRICS Trade Ministers on Multilateral Trading System and the WTO Reform of 2020, reports Asian Lite News

BRICS Foreign Ministers, during their standalone meeting, held in a virtual format reaffirmed their support for a transparent, rules-based, open, inclusive and non-discriminatory multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core.

They reiterated their support for the necessary and urgent reform which would inter alia, preserve the centrality, core values and fundamental principles of the WTO and consider the interests of all members, including developing countries and LDCs, recognizing that the majority of the WTO members are developing countries.

It is critical that all WTO members avoid unilateral and protectionist measures that run counter to the spirit and rules of the WTO, BRICS Foreign Ministers said in their joint statement.

They stressed the need to restore the normal functioning of all WTO’s functions as highlighted in the Joint Statement by BRICS Trade Ministers on Multilateral Trading System and the WTO Reform of 2020.

They emphasized the primary importance of ensuring the restoration and preservation of the normal functioning of a two-stage WTO Dispute Settlement system, including the expeditious appointment of all Appellate Body members.

The Ministers acknowledged that global economic governance in an increasingly interconnected world is of critical importance for the success of national efforts for achieving sustainable development in all countries, and that, while efforts have been made over the years, there remains a need to continue improving global economic governance and to strengthen the role of the United Nations in this regard with extensive consultations and joint contributions for the shared benefits.

The Ministers reiterated the important role of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development in the integrated treatment of trade and development, finance, technology, investment and sustainable development and reaffirmed support for its vital mandate and promotion of an open and inclusive global economy and provision of development oriented policy analysis.

On international financial architecture, the Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to broadening and strengthening the participation of emerging markets and developing countries (EMDCs) in the international economic decision-making and norm-setting processes, especially in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To that end, they stressed the importance of continuing efforts to reform the international financial architecture, noting that enhancing the voice and participation of EMDCs, including the least developed countries, in the Bretton Woods institutions remains a continuous concern.

The Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to a strong Global Financial Safety Net with a quota-based and adequately resourced IMF at its center and expressed their deep disappointment at the failure in addressing the quota and governance reforms under the 15th General Review of Quotas (GRQ).

They called for the timely and successful completion of the 16th GRQ by December 15, 2023, to reduce the IMF’s reliance on temporary resources and to address under-representation of EMDCs for their meaningful engagement in the governance of IMF and to protect the voice and quota shares of its poorest and smallest members and have a new quota formula that better reflects the economic weight of members.

The Ministers called for governance reform in the recruitment processes of the World Bank and the IMF by ensuring selection through an open and merit- based process, noting that the true potential of the Bank and Fund would be realized only by building more democratic governance structures and strengthening their financial capacity.

Fresh push on UNSC reform

In their joint statement, Foreign Ministers of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa on Tuesday recommitted to instill new life in the discussions on reform of the UN Security Council and continue the work to revitalize the General Assembly and strengthen the Economic and Social Council.

They took note with satisfaction of the 2020 review of the peace building architecture and agreed to reinforce their coordination in the peace building commission.

The Ministers recalled the 2005 World Summit Outcome document and reaffirmed the need for a comprehensive reform of the UN, including its Security Council, with a view to making it more representative, effective and efficient, and to increase the representation of the developing countries so that it can adequately respond to global challenges.

China and Russia reiterated the importance they attach to the status and role of Brazil, India and South Africa in international affairs and supported their aspiration to play a greater role in the UN.

They also commended India and South Africa for their respective present and recent terms served in the UN Security Council. They also recognized the candidacy of Brazil as a UN Security Council member for the 2022-2023 biennium.

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